How Much Money TV Stars Really Earn from Reruns

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By: Ronda Fuller | Published: Dec 13, 2022

Think of one of your favorite television shows. You look forward to every episode, the actors are terrific, and you probably watch reruns if they are available. Every time you see a rerun, two things happen. First, you enjoy the show all over again; secondly, those actors get paid again for airing the rerun. To us, It sounds fair, although we’re all a little jealous of those people getting paid twice for one episode. 

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Of course, this depends on actors’ contracts, which determine how their deal works. Anyway, keep reading to find out how much these guys are earning. Just remember how much you enjoy the show.

Caruso’s Living it Up

TV Show: CSI Miami
Seasons: 10
Finale Episode Airdate: April 8, 2012
Show Residuals: Up to $100,000 per year*

The star of CSI Miami, which ended in 2012, David Caruso receives up to $100,000 annually in royalties from reruns. That series ran for ten years, during which he was its producer and star.

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The networks are just fine with paying these stars their royalties. Apparently, CSI Miami has brought in almost 14 billion dollars for CBS. Everybody’s happy. 

Even Ray Loves Ray

TV Show: Everybody Loves Raymond
Seasons: 9
Finale Episode Airdate: May 16, 2005
Show Residuals: Up to $18 million a year*

Everybody Loves Raymond earns actor Ray Romano up to $18 million each year from the airing of reruns. This show’s finale aired 17 years ago, and the reruns just keep airing.

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He has been called the wealthiest Emmy-award-winning actor of all time, primarily due to the millions he continues to earn without stepping foot in a studio. But, of course, we laugh at every episode, so the fact that Ray continues to bring joy to the world is OK with us.

Bills for Hawkeye

TV Show: M*A*S*H
Seasons: 11
Finale Episode Airdate: February 28, 1983
Show Residuals: Up to $1 million a year*

Alan Alda was the star of M*A*S*H, a comedy showcasing the Korean War’s mobile army unit. It is said that its finale in 1983 had one of the highest viewership numbers ever.   

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One has to appreciate the quality of the writing and acting if, almost 40 years later, people are still watching reruns of the show, enough to earn Alda up to $1 million each year. In its first season, Alda earned about $10,000 per episode.

Hunky Beach Boy Still Raking it In

TV Show: Baywatch
Seasons: 11
Finale Episode Airdate: May 14, 2001
Show Residuals: Up to $4 million per year*

Hunky David Hasselhoff was the dreamboat of the show Baywatch for 11 seasons. The show ended in 2001. Between Hasselhoff, a few other hunks, and many other swimsuit-clad actors, the show brought in millions for the studio and had a huge viewership. 

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At one point during the show’s tenure, it was even one of the most-watched TV shows in the world. Now Hasselhoff can sit on a beach, let someone else serve as a lifeguard, and review his bank account. He receives about $4 million for reruns. He could probably buy his own beach.

Nerd Makes Good

TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
Seasons: 12
Finale Episode Airdate: May 16, 2019
Show Residuals: Up to $10 million a year*

Jim Parsons played the lead in the show The Big Bang Theory, one of the most successful sitcoms of recent years. In the first season, he earned $60,000 per episode, but by the last season, he was bringing in $900,000 per episode. The mind boggles.

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On top of that (let’s hope he did save some of his earnings), he now brings in about $10 million annually from show residuals. So some nerds do make it big.

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Ross is Not on a Break

TV Show: Friends
Seasons: 10
Finale Episode Airdate: May 6, 2004
Show Residuals: Up to $20 million per year*

Oh, Ross. Actor David Schwimmer from the mega-hit TV show Friends is still bringing in bucks from reruns of the show. The show ran from 1994 to 2004, with huge audiences and obsessed fans.  

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Friends ranked as one of the top 10 shows each season; 52.5 million people watched the finale. Now, Schwimmer brings in about $20 million yearly in show residuals. 

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Married…with Money

TV Show: Married With Children
Seasons: 11
Finale Episode Airdate: June 9, 1997
Show Residuals: Up to $10 million a year*

Go, Ed! After playing a harried father in the series Married with Children for 11 seasons, Ed O’Neill deserves his rewards. The show aired for 11 seasons, after which he also starred in Modern Family.

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The show broke new ground in family comedy, with the network refusing to tame its early episodes. Advertisers pulled their support, so the producer decided to tame the scripts. There were a great many unaired episodes from that time period that are only available on DVD. Even with the unaired episodes, Ed is bringing in over $10 million a year in residuals.

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Ted Danson is Quite Cheery

TV Show: Cheers
Seasons: 11
Finale Episode Airdate: May 20, 1993
Show Residuals: Up to $5 million a year*

The finale of the show Cheers aired over 25 years ago. Each year since then, the star, Ted Danson, earns up to 5 million dollars for the airing of reruns. 

 

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And that’s not Danson’s only successful TV series. He was the star of The Good Place and also appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Bored to Death. The networks air reruns of those shows as well. While we don’t know the details of Danson’s contracts for those other shows, we think he’s OK, considering the 5 million dollars of annual income for Cheers alone that rolls into his bank account. 

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Matt LeBlanc

TV Show: Friends
Seasons: 10
Finale Episode Airdate: May 6, 2004
Show Residuals: Up to $20 million per year*

Matt LeBlanc is another one of the leading men from Friends. He played the role of goofy Joey, who was one of the most recognizable characters from the show. He actually won three Emmy nominations for his role.

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His character later had spinoff shows, further proving what a cult classic Friends was. From Friends, LeBlanc enjoys a hefty check of up to $20 million every year. It pays to be Friends!

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Jennifer Aniston

TV Show: Friends
Seasons: 10
Finale Episode Airdate: May 6, 2004
Show Residuals: Up to $20 million a year*

Next on the list is Jennifer Aniston. She is another one of the original six from Friends. Like the other stars of Friends from this list so far, she also brings in an impressive $20 million a year in royalty checks.

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Aniston is one of the more popular actors from the original show. She has gone on to star in dozens of movies and shows since the finale aired in 2004.

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David Hyde Pierce

TV Show: Frasier
Seasons: 11
Final Episode Airdate: September 16, 1993
Show Residuals: $40 million in total*

David Hyde Pierce was the star of the hit show Frasier. It had 11 seasons and ultimately ended in 2004. He earned four Emmys for his incredible role on the show, and the show was known as the smartest show on television with constant laughs.

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As time went on, more and more details came out about what happened behind the scenes, and a lot of troubles have been highlighted. Regardless, the show has managed to rack up $40 million in total so far from reruns.

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Maureen McCormick

TV Show: The Brady Bunch
Seasons: 5
Finale Episode Airdate: March 8, 1974
Show Residuals: $0 per year*

You might remember Maureen McCormick from The Brady Bunch. That show was a hit in the 60s and 70s, and it stole America’s heart. McCormick, along with the rest of the cast, has since discussed the fact that they get no residuals from reruns of the show.

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They tried renegotiating, but there was a clause in their original contract that can’t be beat. She officially makes $0 a year from royalties.

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Mark Harmon

TV Show: NCIS
Seasons: 18
Final Episode Airdate: N/A
Show Residuals: Up to $60 million in total*

Mark Harmon is the face of NCIS. The show is still running and recently announced its 18th season.

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It is widely considered the most popular show of today’s time, and it has a huge fan base. Harmon takes home $125,000 per new episode that’s filmed, and up to $60 million in show residuals alone.

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Jerry Seinfeld

TV Show: Seinfeld
Seasons: 9
Finale Episode Airdate: May 14, 1998
Show Residuals: Up to $110 million per year*

Next is Jerry Seinfeld. Jerry is an iconic funnyman, revolutionizing how people approach sitcoms and stand-up alike. His 90s sitcom Seinfeld had some of the tightest writing at the time, and it was all thanks to his comedic prowess.

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Seinfeld is currently one of the richest comedians in the world, and it’s largely thanks to the $110 million check he gets yearly from his show’s residuals. The good news is that 2021 will bring us a 4K quality version of Seinfeld exclusively on Netflix.

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Dr. Phil

TV Show: The Dr. Phil Show
Seasons: 17
Final Episode Airdate: N/A
Show Residuals: Up to $10 million in total*

Let’s take a look at Dr. Phil. The Dr. Phil Show has been running for 17 seasons now, and he’s famous for stirring the pot of popular culture. It’s hard to remember so long ago, but Dr. Phil originally started as a human behaviorist that would show up from time to time on Oprah’s show.

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His solo show started in 2002, and you’ll find an episode airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network almost every day. He takes home an impressive $10 million a year in show residuals.

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Kristen Bell

TV Show: The Good Place
Seasons: 4
Final Episode Airdate: September 26, 2019
Show Residuals: $0*

Kristen Bell is a hilarious and very talented actress. If you’re a fan of The Good Place you’re probably sad that it’s over and love Bell’s performance as much as we did.

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If you want to get sadder, you should realize that none of the cast is going to get royalties from the reruns (most likely). Hopefully, her Frozen money is keeping her warm!

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Tim Allen

TV Show: Home Improvement
Seasons: 8
Finale Episode Airdate: May 25, 1999
Show Residuals: Up to $18 million in total*

Tim Allen played The Toolman in Home Improvement.

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This fun show wrapped right before the new millennia. To this day, Allen enjoys a big residual check every year up to $18 million. Not too bad for a man and his tools!

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Kelsey Grammer

TV Show: Frasier
Seasons: 11
Finale Episode Airdate: May 13, 2004
Show Residuals: Up to $13 million a year*

Kelsey Grammar is another big name from the old show Frasier. He played Frasier Crane on the show Cheers before the spin-off show Frasier was introduced.

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During the final season, Grammar was making a massive $1.6 million per episode. In royalties alone, Grammar takes home $13 million every year.

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Jon Cryer

TV Show: Two and a Half Men
Seasons: 12
Finale Episode Airdate: February 19, 2015
Show Residuals: Up to $20 million in total*

Jon Cryer is next on our list. When you think of sitcoms in the past 20 years, you can’t forget Two and a Half Men. It’s the show that Charlie Sheen was appearing on during his public outbreak.

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Cryer is the best-paid member of the original cast of three. During the peak episodes, he would make around $620,000 an episode. In royalties alone, he received a check up to $20 million a year!

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Sam Waterston

TV Show: Law & Order
Seasons: 20
Finale Episode Airdate: May 24, 2010
Show Residuals: Up to $5,000 per year*

Sam Waterston was an icon during Law & Order’s 20 season run. He even won a Golden Globe from his performance.

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Despite his incredible performance, the star only makes around $5 thousand dollars a year in show royalties. He’s doing just fine though, recently appearing in the reboot of Grace and Frankie.

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Johnny Galecki

TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
Seasons: 12
Finale Episode Airdate: May 16, 2019
Show Residuals: Up to $10 million per year*

Johnny Galecki is another big name from The Big Bang Theory.

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All of the stars became millionaires from the franchise, and Galecki is walking away with a huge check of $10 million a year in royalties. It quickly became the most-watched sitcom of today’s age, and the show has a massive fan base.

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Alex Borstein

TV Show: Family Guy
Seasons: 18
Finale Episode Airdate: N/A
Show Residuals: Up to $10 million per year*

Alex Borstein is the voice of Lois Griffin on Family Guy. Family Guy has been on the air for 19 seasons now, and Borstein is getting around $225,000 per episode thanks to a recent re-negotiation.

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On top of that, she’s raking in nearly $10 million a year in royalties alone. That’s not too shabby considering the show is still running, considered one of the funniest sitcoms running today.

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Tom Ellis

TV Show: Lucifer
Seasons: 5
Final Episode Airdate: TBD
Show Residuals: Unknown

Next up is Tom Ellis. He’s a star on the show Lucifer. The show started on Fox before getting canceled then picked up by Netflix.

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Ellis makes $50,000 per episode, and his contract allows for a huge payday in residuals when everything’s said and done.

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Carol Burnett

TV Show: The Carol Burnett Show
Seasons: 11
Finale Episode Airdate: March 29, 1978
Show Residuals: $0.01 per DVD sold*

Carol Burnett is an actress from her namesake show, The Carol Burnett Show. It was a show that started in the 60s and ran for 11 seasons before ending in 1978. Thanks to a poor contract, Burnett isn’t walking away with a huge payday for her big show.

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She reportedly makes only a penny per DVD sold, though she hasn’t announced how much that converts to annually. Looking at the sale of DVDs today, we can’t imagine it’s a lot.

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Jonny Lee Miller

TV Show: Elementary
Seasons: 7
Final Episode Airdate: August 15, 2019
Show Residuals: $1,000 per year*

Next up is Jonny Lee Miller. He was on the show Elementary which had a 7 season run. It wrapped in 2019, and the show got a bit of traction.

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He went on to do a number of different shows, but he gets around $1 thousand a year in residuals from this show. Not a huge check, but it’s free money!

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Patrick Stewart

TV Show: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Seasons: 7
Finale Episode Airdate: May 23, 1994
Show Residuals: $0 (as of 2017)*

Patrick Stewart made a name for himself on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The show had its finale in 1994, and it amassed a cult following.

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The franchise has put together movies and spin-off shows to gain an even bigger following. Despite that, Stewart admits to making $0 in royalties from the show as of 2017.

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Tracey Ullman

TV Show: The Tracey Ullman Show
Seasons: 4
Finale Episode Airdate: May 26, 1996
Show Residuals: Up to $5,000 per year*

Tracey Ullman starred in her own show, The Tracey Ullman Show. It enjoyed 4 seasons before wrapping in 1996.

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She has had a full career since then – making a name for herself as a singer, actress, and dancer. With the success from her show, she makes around $5 thousand a year in residuals.

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Lucille Ball

TV Show: I Love Lucy
Seasons: 6
Finale Episode Airdate: May 6, 1957
Show Residuals: Up to $17 million per year* to estate

Lucille Ball played Lucy in the iconic show I Love Lucy. The sitcom changed how people viewed television, and they were essentially the first show in the situational comedy genre.

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Luckily she and her husband owned their own production company and held the rights to their show. That translated to $17 million a year in residuals! The couple enjoyed their residual checks for more than 30 years before selling the rights to CBS a few years ago.

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Nancy Cartwright

TV Show: The Simpsons
Seasons: 31
Finale Episode Airdate: N/A
Show Residuals: Up to $20 million per year*

Next up is Nancy Cartwright. She voices the character Bart in The Simpsons. The Simpsons is famously the longest-running animated comedy that television has ever seen. Some massive names come together to make the cast and special guests for each episode.

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The show is currently still running, and Cartwright gets a big check up to $20 million a year for her participation in the series. For new episodes, she makes $400,000 each.

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Daniel J. Travanti

TV Show: Hill Street Blues
Seasons: 7
Finale Episode Airdate: May 12, 1987
Show Residuals: Up to $10,000 per year*

The start from Hill Street Blues, Daniel J. Travanti doesn’t enjoy a residual check that’s as large as others in this list. The show ran for 7 seasons and had its finale in 1987.

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Travanti took home two Emmys and a Golden Globe for his performance on the show. He made a lot in royalties over the years, but today he only makes around $10 thousand a year. Still, that’s not bad for a show that started nearly 40 years ago.

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Ricky Gervais

TV Show: The Office UK
Seasons: 2
Finale Episode Airdate: November 4, 2002
Show Residuals: Up to $1 million per year*

Ricky Gervais is the creative mind behind The Office UK. The UK series only had two seasons, but Gervais still takes up to $1 million a year in residuals.

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He’s been featured in a number of projects since the finale, so he’s definitely not relying on these royalties. In fact, he even had a small role in America’s version of the Office.

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Marg Helgenberger

TV Show: CSI
Seasons: 15
Finale Episode Airdate: February 15, 2018
Show Residuals: Up to $10,000 per year*

Marg Helgenberger is another one of the names from CSI.

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The show ended just a few years ago, and she gets to enjoy around $10 thousand a year in royalty checks. A much smaller figure than David Caruso due to her contract and smaller role.

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Linda Robson

TV Show: Birds of a Feather
Seasons: 12
Final Episode Airdate: December 24, 1998
Show Residuals: $200-300 per year

Linda Robson was a star from the show Birds of a Feather. The show had its finale in 1998 after 12 seasons on the air. It’s a British show that was canceled before given a reboot.

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The 13th season hasn’t been released yet, and there’s no saying when it ever will be. According to Robson, the reboots aren’t shown on standard television, so she only makes a couple of hundred dollars a year in residuals.

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Tom Kenny

TV Show: Spongebob
Seasons: 12
Finale Episode Airdate: N/A
Show Residuals: Up to $11 million per year*

Next up is Tom Kenny. He voices the ultra-famous sponge, Spongebob. The show has been on the air for 12 seasons and it’s still going strong.

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Kenny is one of the few original cast members that still voice their character. With reruns alone, Kenny takes home up to $11 million a year!

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John Goodman

TV Show: Roseanne
Seasons: 10
Finale Episode Airdate: May 22, 2018
Show Residuals: Up to $1 million per year*

John Goodman was the husband on Roseanne.

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He played in the original series as well as the reboot which was recently, and abruptly, canceled. From the reboot, he takes home around $1 million a year. He can add that to the money he makes from his other projects.

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Lesley Manville

TV Show: Mum
Seasons: 3
Final Episode Airdate: June 19, 2019
Show Residuals: $2,000 per year*

Lesley Manville was a cast member from the show Mum.

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It is a British show that had 3 seasons before ending in 2019. Since the viewership was pretty low, Manville only receives a check of around $2 thousand a year.

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Lisa Kudrow

TV Show: Friends
Seasons: 10
Finale Episode Airdate: May 6, 2004
Show Residuals: Up to $20 million per year*

Time for another Friends star, Lisa Kudrow. She is also one of the original six cast members who enjoy a massive residual together.

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She takes home around $20 million a year in residuals from that massive television hit that she starred on. Since then, she’s made appearances and had leading roles in too many projects to list!

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Sarah Michelle Gellar

TV Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Seasons: 7
Final Episode Airdate: May 20, 2003
Show Residuals: Up to $1 million in total*

Sarah Michelle Gellar played the leading character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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This show was a cult classic that had 7 seasons and a finale in 2003. The reruns that are currently played bring around $1 million to Gellar every year.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus

TV Show: Seinfeld
Seasons: 9
Final Episode Airdate: May 14, 1998
Show Residuals: $400 million in total*

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is another star from the hit sitcom Seinfeld.

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Although Seinfeld owns the rights to the show, Louis-Dreyfus still enjoys some sizeable residuals. To this day, she has made around $400 million in royalties from reruns of the show.

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Edie Falco

TV Show: The Sopranos
Seasons: 6
Final Episode Airdate: June 10, 2007
Show Residuals: Up to $26 million in total*

Edie Falco was one of the leading ladies in The Sopranos.

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This massive TV hit had 6 seasons before wrapping in 2007. The show was one of the best shows in television history, and it has a huge following. Falco rakes in around $26 million a year thanks to show residuals.

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George Clooney

TV Show: ER
Seasons: 15
Final Episode Airdate: April 2, 2009
Show Residuals: Up to $13 million per year*

Next up is George Clooney. A lot of people recognize Clooney for his remarkable roles in many hit movies, but did you know that he also had a long run on television?

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He was on the show ER for 5 of its 15 seasons before its finale in 2009. He takes home around $13 million a year thanks to his performance.

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